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Native Cross-Platform in Visual Studio

Native Cross-Platform in Visual Studio

17th Aug, 2016



In Visual Studio 2015 you can build same apps for different devices, such as Android, iOS, and Windows. In design process you will have the access to many design tools in Visual Studio that will allow you to add many connected services, like Azure Mobile Services, Application Insights and Office 365.


What is really good is that you don’t have to use specific coding language, you can use your preferred coding language, such as C# and the .NET Framework, HTML and JavaScript, or C++. You can even share code, images, strings and even the user interface in some cases.


Working with HTML and JavaScript


If you don’t have Visual Studio 2015 installed yet, you will have to download and install it first. In setup process choose HTML/JavaScript (Apache Cordova) feature.


Apache Cordova is a framework which includes a plug-in model, this enables the sharing of files for other types of web applications, without having to redesign or modify them.


After you have created your first project and you want to run your app, you can choose between different emulators to do that or you can even run it in a browser or on a device which is connected directly to your computer. The most commonly used emulators are ,strong>Apache Ripple emulator or Visual Studio Emulator and they are used for Android or Windows Phone.


Working with .NET framework / Xamarin


First you will need to have Visual Studio 2015 installed. During the installation process, you will have to choose Custom installation and select Cross Platform Mobile Development C#/.NET or you can simply use the Xamarin Installer.


If you already have Visual Studio 2015 installed, go to the Programs and Features menu and select the same Custom option for Xamarin as above.


Once you have created a new project and you want to see how it works, you can use the Android emulator for Android apps, for Windows you can run apps natively or you can also use Windows Phone emulator. For iOS project, you will need to start Mac emulator and you will have to connect to a networked Mac.


Working with Visual C++


Again you will have to install Visual Studio 2015 as well as the Visual C++ for Cross Platform Mobile Development tools. This option is currently only available for the Android or Windows app, it’s not yet available for iOS apps.


You will have the chance to choose between many templates, some of them are native and can be used for both solutions (Android and Windows) and some of them target Windows.


When your project is ready and you want to see how it looks, you can use Visual Studio Emulator for Android or Windows.




The native cross platforms were a big improvement for many developers. The old Visual Studio Build system was hard to open source and cross platform tasks. This solution is really innovative and was major step forward, especially when building app for iOS. Previously you would have to be on Mac to build iOS app, but now this is all possible with the cross-platforms in Visual Studio 2015.